Significant City Deal and Economic Growth Funding Package confirmed for Derry and Strabane.

The announcement today of a £105M economic package by the UK Government in the Derry City and Strabane City Region has been widely welcomed by City and District partners with the Mayor saying it will be “a significant catalyst for change and economic growth” for the Derry City and Strabane District and the wider North West and expressed his delight that it has been secured during his Mayoral year as a key priority.

The investment package announced comprises a £50M ‘City Deal’ and a £55M ‘Inclusive Future Fund’ and is the culmination of a long period of engagement with Government in relation to advancing priority projects and initiatives within the City and District’s Inclusive Strategic Growth Plan and City Deal proposals.

Reflecting the model recently announced by Government for the Belfast Region City Deal, it is anticipated that the UK Government investment package announced today of £105M for Derry~Londonderry and Strabane will be at least matched by a similar commitment from the NI Executive and will lever further investment from project partners and other third party sources which it is hoped will eventually lead to an overall investment injection of in excess of £300M.

The announcement follows a visit to the City last July when the Chancellor, Philip Hammond met with civic and political leaders to hear of the plans and invited a bid for a City Deal to be formally submitted.

The bid, supported and endorsed by all local and regional political parties and representatives and devised around the key strategic economic projects outlined in the City and District’s Inclusive Strategic Growth Plan 2017-2032.

Led by Derry City and Strabane District Council, the bid was developed in partnership, and with the support of a wide range of local education, business and economic partners – including the Ulster University, the North West Regional College, both the Londonderry and Strabane Chambers of Commerce, the Western Health and Social Care Trust, Visit Derry, City Centre Initiative and the Foyle Port, in consultation with all associated NI Government Departments.

At the core of the bid is education, innovation, job creation and skills development with a key focus being the advancement of the much sought after expansion and growth of the Magee campus of Ulster University.

The investment package announced today, will enable planning and business case development to now proceed on proposals for a significant landmark riverfront university medical education and innovation hub, comprising a graduate entry medical college and centres of innovation, research and teaching excellence in data-driven personalised medicine, cognitive analytics and robotics and automation, eventually delivering over 200 new posts/research assistants at the City’s university and upwards of 2,000 additional students.

The stimulus package will additionally advance the delivery of a range of smart city and digital infrastructure projects and initiatives, further positioning the City and District as a highly digitally enabled location for cutting-edge business development and expansion and inward investment.

The catalytic impact of this could therefore result in the single biggest ever combined and integrated funding injection the City and District, that will enable progress and delivery of other key infrastructure, tourism and regeneration projects contained within the Plan and Bid in both Derry City Centre and Riverfront and in Strabane Town Centre.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor John Boyle said: “This hugely significant announcement today for the Derry and Strabane District will go some considerable way in addressing the long-standing obstacles to economic development that this City Region and its people face. It is good news and is the result of an enormous amount of work and sustained effort invested by Council and the City and Regional partners to develop, deliver and negotiate on the bid.”

Council Chief Executive John Kelpie acknowledged the collaborative approach and the unified vision and commitment demonstrated by politicians, and partner organisations in development of the bid and the advice and support received regionally and nationally in securing such a positive outcome.

Enthusiastic about the opportunity presented by today’s announcement he commented: “This City and District has seen much progress in recent years economically, physically and socially. It has however significant remaining challenges in overcoming an infrastructure deficit and a legacy of underinvestment both of which have been such inhibitors to sustainable economic growth.

“This funding package, if directed at the key agreed strategic growth projects and if used to lever significant further public and private sector investment, will deliver a new era of unprecedented growth and development for the City and Region providing tangible benefits for all of our citizens and a promising future for our children and young people.”

Other City Deal Project partners reacted equally positively with the Vice Chancellor of Ulster University, Professor Paddy Nixon said, “This investment will now see the rapid development of plans to grow and enhance facilities and student numbers at the Magee Campus including the Graduate Entry Medical School.”

Brian McGrath, President of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce said: “This funding is hugely welcome and provides a solid platform upon which to grow and enhance the competitiveness of the City and Region and attract further significant exciting new companies, business prospects and investment.”

Council Chief Executive, John Kelpie concluded:  “The next steps will now be for everyone to continue to work together to develop the necessary detailed business plans and advance the projects through planning and design. We will do this by using this unprecedented opportunity to promote the future of this City and District as a location of choice for all in terms of business, lifestyle and ambition.”

A high-level inward investment team from the State of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia visited Derry, Strabane and Inishowen in October as part of a visit to Northern Ireland.

During their visit to the North West the group met with the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council John Boyle, and visited a number of local businesses, including E&I Engineering in Burnfoot.

They also spent some time at the North West Regional College and the Ulster University Magee campuses to see at first hand the region’s entrepreneurship and innovation and skilled workforce.

The delegation also attended a business engagement lunch with the Chamber of Commerce and met with international investors and local business representatives who are interested in doing business in the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia areas, as well as local companies such as Fleming Agri and Marblehill, who already export to the US.

The visit was just weeks ahead of a forthcoming trade mission to Boston/Philadelphia, which will saw companies from Derry, Strabane and Donegal travelling to the US along with representatives from Derry City and Strabane District Council, Donegal County Council, the Local Enterprise Office, North West Regional College and LYIT.

Among the representatives who visited the city this week from the State of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia were Mr David Briel (Executive Director, Centre for Direct Investment, Pennsylvania); Mr Richard Kilner (Office of International Business Development, Center for Direct Investment, Pennsylvania); Mrs Sylvie Gallier Howard (First Deputy Commerce Director, Department of Commerce, City of Philadelphia) and Mr Vaughn Ross (Deputy Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Philadelphia).

Mayor Boyle said: “They were very impressed with our offering and how well placed we are in terms of offering cost competitive business opportunities along with high level digital connectivity and a young and well educated workforce.

“They were very keen to further explore the existing trade and export relationships that exist with companies from the North West region and Philadelphia, as well as the wider State of Pennsylvania. We are starting to see the benefits of this joined up and positive approach to establishing strong economic development links and initiatives between the US and the North West region. Our relationship is very strong and there is a real eagerness to develop our relationship further.”

For further Information


An October trade mission to China as part of the 4th UK-China Regional Leaders Summit that was held in Dalian, has been hailed as a huge success by Derry City and Strabane District Council who led the delegation from Northern Ireland.  The local delegation accompanied by senior representatives from Central and Local Government, Invest NI, Queen’s University, Ulster University, the North West Regional College and other education and business partners had a number of meeting while in the host city of Dalian in the Liaoning Province.

Speaking following the five-day visit, the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr John Boyle said the visit was significant in terms of profiling our region and getting a unique insight into the Chinese tourism, business, technology and education sectors.

This is the 4th UK-China Regional Leaders Summit and Derry City and Strabane District Council was the lead Council as a result of its existing relationship with the host city of Dalian where it signed a Friendly Co-operative City Agreement last year to formally acknowledge the strong working relationship between the two cities and regions.

Speaking on his return from the visit, the Mayor said links with China are hugely important in assisting us to expand our business, tourism and education connections.

He welcomed news of the signing of an official MoU between the North West Regional College and Dalian College during the visit.

He said: “I was very impressed with the visit and the way in which we were so warmly welcomed to Dalian by officials who were genuinely interested in how we can work in collaboration for the mutual benefit of both cities and regions.

“The visit was extremely worthwhile in allowing us to get a real insight into their economy and culture.

“We are starting to see the outcomes from the signing of the Friendly Co-operative City Agreement last year and are delighted that our partners, the North West Regional College have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Dalian College.”

The Mayor added that the city of Dalian is hugely significant in China.

Based in North East China, the City of Dalian is a global financial centre with a population of over 6.5million and specialises in the Financial and IT sectors.

It is also home to some of the major players in these industries including Oracle, IBM, CISCO and Convergys.

“Derry and Dalian have a lot in common and we were delighted to be able to continue with the work done so far through our Co-operative Cities relationship so that we can encourage more investment, more international students and tourists to our city and region.

“It’s a very important part of our commitment set out in the Strategic Growth Plan and I am confident that as a result of this visit we can continue to bring positive connections and links between the two cities,” he concluded.

For further Information

Ulster University gets £5m donation to boost data analytics

Ulster University is to boost its prominence in the field of data analytics and artificial intelligence following a £5 million donation.

The money is to be spent on the establishment of the Dr George Moore chair in data analytics. The late Dr Moore was described by the university as “one of the founding fathers” of the data analytics industry.

Professor Paddy Nixon, vice-chancellor, Ulster University, with Angela Moore, who made the donation.

Professor Paddy Nixon, vice-chancellor, Ulster University, with Angela Moore, who made the donation.

The donation was made by Dr Moore’s wife, Angela Moore. Recruitment for the role has begun and the selection process is ongoing.

“The chair will be a stellar, world-class academic, who will lead an innovative research team responding dynamically to the real-world needs of data analytics,” said Ulster University.

“In recognition of Mrs Moore’s gift, Ulster University will recruit an associated research fellow and three PhD students who will contribute to revolutionising global AI and data analytics research.”

Dr George Moore, born in Co Louth, left Ireland in 1972 and established Targus Information, a world leading data analytics service provider, whose technologies are used by many Fortune 500 companies.

Dr Moore predicted the explosion of information that would follow the creation of the internet and he recognised the commercial value of harnessing such information though data analytics.

Ulster University awarded Dr George Moore an honorary doctorate in 2005 in recognition of his “outstanding contribution to society” and his global impact on the field of data analytics.

Magic thermal ink tells us when food is fresh

Every time we buy food, we’re given an indication of its freshness through a measure of time – a best-before date.

“Temperature is a more important indicator than time – whether that food has been transported and stored at the required freezing, or chilled, temperatures,” says the man who has led Nuprint for more than 20 years, Gavin Killeen. Nuprint, a labelling producer, has a new R&D project to create temperature-sensitive inks for food labels. The project is part of the ‘North West Centre for Advanced Manufacturing,’ EU funded under the INTERREG programme.*

Owing to food warming up to ambient temperatures when it shouldn’t, the World Health Organisation found that 25% of food products in the US are beyond their best – before they hit the supermarket.

Gavin said, “Temperate-sensitive labels have been possible for some time, but it’s been cost-prohibitive. Food products are fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). We could use copper-etched circuit boards and RFID tags, but the cost is too high for FMCG. We need an inexpensive ink capable of carrying a charge or a circuit.”


He explained, “In the case of a frozen chicken, its label would be stamped with a thermochromic ink stating ‘Not Suitable for Human Consumption.’ That warning would only become visible if the chicken is exposed to ambient temperature for long enough, say it was left out of the freezer, or the refrigerator was shut off during transit.”

Presumably it isn’t good enough to have this label on bulk packaging, with several chickens inside, because a consumer won’t see that?

Gavin said, “It needs to be on individual food items. Therefore it may only be for expensive cuts of meat, maybe not a container of coleslaw. The question is, what are consumers prepared to pay for?”

Nuprint’s academic partner is the University of Glasgow. What is the scope of the research?

Gavin said, “We’ll have a fulltime PhD student researcher, with a few senior academics involved.

What’s your proposed timeline for a commercial outcome?

“I’m hopeful that in two or three years we’ll have something that can be marketed,” said Gavin.

He described some of the challenges they face. “It’s a classic chicken-and-egg; how do we get the price low if we don’t have high volume, but we can’t achieve the volume until we get the price down.”

Gavin continued, “The question is how to bring the technology onto flexible labels and packaging.”

The next phase for a longstanding Derry~Londonderry firm

Nuprint has been in business since 1984, and Gavin has led it into the future. “We’ve invested £2.5m over the past 18 months, bringing in new digital printing technology with variable data, new sleeve labelling technology, and other technology. We’ve also invested heavily in our staff. We work with global brands like Coca-Cola and local brands such as Linden, Willowbrook and Dunbia.”

I read Nuprint has a goal to expand to 50 staff this year; how are you doing against that target?

“We’re currently at 43 staff members and we’ve very committed to our people,” he said.

How does Northern Ireland rank when it comes to food, and food safety?

Gavin said, “Northern Ireland is second-to-none when it comes to food. Maybe we don’t sell ourselves as well as we could, when it comes to premium Northern Irish beef for instance. Other regions have perhaps sold themselves better, without having our high standard of quality. This means there’s a global opportunity for Northern Ireland’s food producers.”

*More about Interreg EU

Catalyst Inc is the lead partner in an €8.5m INTERREG EU funded project ‘North West Centre for Advanced Manufacturing’ (NW CAM) that links Northern Ireland, Ireland and Scotland to deliver 15 research projects that are meeting industrial need within the Life and Health Science sector. The project has six industrial partners of which Nuprint is one.

Ulster University launches test centre to meet growing demands for nurses across the UK

Ulster University is continuing to support the vital transformation of Northern Ireland’s healthcare system by launching its new Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Competence Test Centre at Ulster University’s Magee campus, which aims to meet the growing demands for overseas nurses and midwives wishing to work in UK.

Nurses and midwives registered outside of the EU/EEA are required to undergo stringent procedures before they can practice in the UK. This involves successfully taking a two-part test of competence. The first part of the test is computer-based and can be taken anywhere in the world. If successful, applicants can then take the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) at a UK test centre.

Situated at the University’s Magee campus, as part of the School of Nursing, the new purpose-built, designated test centre will deliver the objective, structured clinical examination (OSCE), which tests applicants’ skills, knowledge and behaviours in a simulated practice environment.

The test centre at Ulster University is one of just three in the UK and the only centre in Northern Ireland. It joins similar centres in Oxford Brookes University and University of Northampton.

All non-EU/EEA registered nurses recruited directly by the Trusts will be required to go through the Test Centre at Magee before they can practice. With no waiting lists currently in place, Ulster University can bring our much-needed registered nurses recruited overseas through the centre immediately and ensure that they are all promptly allocated to clinical practice and patient care.

The new test centre, which has the potential to test 45 candidates per week will help to increase nursing capacity in UK, allowing a greater choice of location and shorter waiting times for overseas nurses and midwives wanting to sit the test.

The new Competence Test Centre facility at Magee Campus also serves the Independent Sector in enabling overseas nurses recruited to work in the Nursing Home sector to undertake the OSCE ‎in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the opening of the new test centre, Professor Charlotte McArdle, Chief Nursing Officer for Northern Ireland, stated:

“We are actively addressing the nursing staffing issue on a number of levels, including the recruitment of 622 overseas nurses by 2020. The new Nursing and Midwifery Council Competence Test Centre at Ulster University will ensure that any oversees nurses who apply to work within the trusts each year have gained professional registration and that they are fit to practice in the UK at the required standard.

“We recognise the invaluable contribution that nurses educated outside the EU and EEA make and the key role they play in the UK’s health and care workforce, but it is vital that they possess the correct skills and qualifications required.”

Professor Carol Curran, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Life and Health Sciences, also said:

“We are delighted that Ulster University is one of just three universities in the UK selected to offer such a vital service. This new test centre demonstrates the commitment of the University and the Department to strengthening and enhancing the healthcare workforce.

“Located at our Magee campus, the centre builds on our delivery of our nursing education provision and stratified medicine in the city. Alongside innovations such as our Physician Associate Course, our School of Nursing and our allied health profession courses, this test centre is a further opportunity to make a tangible impact on the pressing challenges and demands of our health service.

“Across our own skilled and committed nursing graduates and the nurses who will gain their registration through this centre, our Magee campus makes a valuable and rewarding contribution to nursing care.”

Lynn Fee, HSC International Recruitment Nursing Lead / Assistant Director of Nursing at Southern Health and Social Care Trust, also stated:

“The new test centre in Ulster University’s Magee campus is vital to ensure that the nurses educated outside the EU and EEA who wish to join our register can sit the test in a timely way, assisting overall in the direct intervention of healthcare workforce challenges in Northern Ireland.

“The current project to recruit overseas nurses for the HSC follows a regional approach. Nurses must pass through the NMC Competence Test Centre before they can practice and, once registered, are placed into the points of greatest need within the Healthcare System to best serve our community.”

For further information on Ulster University’s NMC competence test centre, visit

Ulster University is to establish a Centre for Personalised Medicine, Clinical Decision Making and Patient Safety which aims to dramatically improve clinical decision-making and tailored patient care in five priority disease areas.

Professor Tony Bjourson, Professor of Genomics at Ulster University

Professor Tony Bjourson, Professor of Genomics at Ulster University

The research project, which will be a cross-border collaboration between the academic, clinical and commercial sectors, will focus on heart disease, emergency surgery, acute kidney injury, diabetes and dementia.

The EU’s INTERREG VA programme, which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, has offered Ulster University €8.6 million of funding for the Centre which will have an overall cost of €9.89 million. It is one of three Ulster University research projects to have secured funding as part of a recent €23 million SEUPB funding round.

The centre’s research will improve the health of tens of thousands of patients and help cut healthcare costs dramatically in Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and internationally.

Personalised medicine, also known as precision or stratified medicine, is a move away from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the treatment and care of patients with a particular condition to one that uses new approaches, including genomics, to better diagnose and manage patients’ health and devise targeted therapies to treat their illnesses. This project will use research to deliver practical solutions to clinicians.

Professor Tony Bjourson, who is Professor of Genomics at Ulster University, will lead the project. He said:

Ulster University has a longstanding historyof world-leading medical and health-related teaching and research. This new Centre for Personalised Medicine, Clinical Decision Making and Patient Safety will add yet another dimension to the University’s work and standing in this important area.

Ulster invests £42m in research and innovation programmes each year. That research is often undertaken in partnership with commercial organisations ensuring it is relevant and applicable to real world problems. With the healthcare sector under immese pressure globally and the need for effective, tailored treatment options coupled with excellence of care, this INTERREG VA funded project will place Ulster University at the heart of the solution.”

The Centre’s research objectives include developing tools which will allow earlier diagnosis of dementia and therefore earlier clinical intervention and support, and also learning how to recognise acute kidney injury earlier to reduce mortality and hospital stay. It will also seek to improve the triage of patients with chest pain to allow more appropriate and rapid emergency referral, and look at how to help people better manage their diabetes.

Professor Bjourson added:

“Currently 30 per cent to 50 per cent of patients don’t respond to the treatment they are prescribed and this number is much higher for some diseases. Through this new Centre we will to improve the health of tens of thousands of people and at the same time develop more cost-effective healthcare not just here in Northern Ireland, but around the world. In addition we will be creating innovative products and new optimised care pathway tools and we‘re confident that this will attract investment that will contribute to economic growth.

“Translating the promises of personalised or stratified medicine discoveries from the lab to the clinic, where the rubber meets the road, is recognised as a major global challenge. The key strength of this project is that it is driving personalised medicine discoveries to the front line to help clinicians make better clinical decisions and improved treatment outcomes for us as patients.”

Welcoming the project Gina McIntyre, Chief Executive Officer with the Special EU Programmes Body, said:

“This project is a unique EU funded cross-border partnership that has the potential to revolutionise patient treatment and care for serious medical conditions. It represents a significant leap forward with research that can help create a more efficient and effective health service in Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland.

“Research undertaken by these renowned health and life sciences organisations, involved in the project, will also make a positive contribution towards the European Union’s 2020 target of increasing investment in Research and Innovation activity.”

The research institutes and companies that will be partnering with Ulster University in the new Centre are the University of Highlands and Islands, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Donegal Clinic Research Academy, National University of Ireland Galway, Letterkenny University Hospital, the Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre, Western Health and Social Care Trust, NHS Highlands Scotland, United Healthcare Group/Optum, Clinishare Ltd, Advanced Research Cryptography Ltd, Randox Laboratories Ltd and Northern Ireland Clinical Research Services Ltd.

Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department of Business , Enterprise and Innovation in Ireland and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland.


Dr. Aaron Peace (CEO C-TRIC), Dr. Tony Bjourson (Ulster University) & Dr. Sean Ennis (Genomics Medicine Ireland)

Dr. Aaron Peace (CEO C-TRIC), Dr. Tony Bjourson (Ulster University) & Dr. Sean Ennis (Genomics Medicine Ireland)

Transformational Research Aims to Unlock Keys to Lifelong Disorders including MS and IBD
Irish life sciences company, Genomics Medicine Ireland, is to collaborate with the Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre (C-TRIC), Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) and Ulster University to undertake comprehensive, population scale genomic research studies in Northern Ireland.

The first two studies will focus on Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD), lifelong chronic diseases for which there is currently no known cause or cure. The studies are launching in the Western HSC Trust with roll out planned across Northern Ireland in early 2018.

People from across Northern Ireland with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) are being invited to contact their healthcare professionals to learn how they can participate in the studies which aim to identify the genetic cause of these diseases and ultimately find better treatments, diagnoses and cures for these chronic conditions.

MS is one of the most prevalent diseases of the central nervous system and directly affects an estimated 2.5 million people worldwide and more than 4,500 people in Northern Ireland. IBD is chronic inflammatory gastrointestinal disorders primarily affecting adults in the prime of their life. There are two major forms of IBD, Crohn’s disease (CD) and Ulcerative colitis (UC) affecting about 8,000 in Northern Ireland.

Volunteers participating in these studies will be contributing to important scientific research aimed at unlocking the mystery of the genetic and lifestyle factors that contribute to MS and IBD. Researchers will combine advanced scientific technology in genomics, the study of all of a person’s genes, together with detailed clinical information to search for answers that one day might lead to the development of new therapeutics for more effective prevention and wellness.

The Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre (C-TRIC) is a unique facility promoting and facilitating translational and clinical research, the primary objective of which is to reduce both the time to market and the costs associated with research and development of innovative health technologies, medical devices and therapeutics. C-TRIC’s unique infrastructure and key support staff will help facilitate the clinical research and innovation of these studies.

Dr. Sean Ennis, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Genomics Medicine Ireland said, “We look forward to working closely with C-TRIC and Ulster University to develop better new means to optimise health and patient outcomes. The size and characteristics of the Northern Ireland population can powerfully advance scientific discovery as our researchers are able to pinpoint variations in DNA that are relevant to these diseases and useful for improving medicine. The resulting therapies to cure and prevent these diseases will benefit patients both Northern Ireland and around the world.”

Dr. Aaron Peace, CEO of C-TRIC and Director of Research and Development, Western Trust said: “C-TRIC and the Western Trust are delighted to be part of this exciting research collaboration with Ulster University. This is the largest genomics research study undertaken on the island of Ireland to date that has the potential to make a significant genetic contribution to new therapeutic opportunities for people with MS and IBD. C-TRIC, Northern Ireland’s healthcare innovation hub and award winning centre is proud to manage these sponsored studies for GMI.”

Professor Tony Bjourson, Director of Ulster University’s Northern Ireland Centre for Stratified Medicine who is leading the project in Northern Ireland said: “MS and IBD are severe, long-term diseases which dramatically impact a person’s ability to live a normal, active life. We know that genomics holds the key to many unanswered questions and Ulster University is one of the leading institutions focusing on this area of highly specialist, personalised approaches to medicine. The collection of genomic data among Northern Ireland’s population will help drive development of novel therapeutic drugs and diagnostics and ultimately we hope, will lead to more targeted treatments for these debilitating conditions.”

Genomics Medicine Ireland is currently undertaking genomic studies in the Republic of Ireland. The company is building Ireland’s first, purpose-built genomics sequencing laboratory to undertake world class research into major chronic diseases within oncology, neuroscience and immunology that affect hundreds of thousands of people on the island of Ireland and hundreds of millions worldwide.

Leeann Monk and Jennifer Neff Co Founders Elemental Software

Leeann Monk and Jennifer Neff Co Founders Elemental Software

Derry Tech For Good Company, Elemental Software, which has developed an award winning social prescribing digital platform that connects patients, health and social care professionals and community health & wellness providers, announced today that it has raised £300,000 with the help of ClearlySo, Europe’s leading impact investment bank. Elemental is using the capital to further develop its software that supports and empowers lifestyle change for communities most at risk, make key staff hires, and expand marketing reach.

Elemental’s platform is the only comprehensive social prescribing solution developed by community development experts that measures the impact of social prescribing and the difference that non clinical solutions can make to the health and wellbeing of communities, which is a growing priority at the highest level in government and rapidly being adopted in the UK.

Elemental Software’s platform was awarded the ‘Best Tech in the 3rd Sector’ of 2016 by Digital DNA and the best enterprise software at INVENT 2016. Leeann Monk and Jennifer Neff, co-founders of Elemental Software, said: “We are absolutely delighted that ClearlySo plugged into the Elemental vision for revolutionising the ability to socially prescribe across the health, social care and third sectors. The investment partnership, created by London based Clearly So, engages social impact investors who each bring a wealth of knowledge, expertise and resource to help us solve one of the most pressing health and social care challenges of our generation.“

More than 80% of the world’s chronic conditions can be avoided by lifestyle change alone. Despite this, chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, mental health related illness and heart disease are rising and so too are costs. In the UK alone, the NHS, which has a funding gap estimated at £22bn by 2020, is spending £7 out £10 in treatment of conditions while GPs capacity is strained.

The key aim of Elemental’s Social Prescribing platform is to demonstrate the value and difference that referrals to local exercise, diet and nutrition and mental support can make to peoples’ lives. Further commenting, Stefano Cappanari, investment manager at ClearlySo, said: “We were very pleased to play a role in helping Elemental scale the “more than medicine” approach to health. From grass-roots Jennifer and Leeann built a business around the patient, health and social professionals, community based providers and Commissioners and we are excited that the capital raise, which closed in record time, and capabilities from our network will allow them to take the next step in transforming our care system for better.”

Mary McKenna, Director at Elemental Software, first introduced the company to ClearlySo, and concludes “I look for startups with that magic combination of knowledgeable and credible founders, a great product and a large and ready market opportunity. Elemental Software has all of that and more.

This investment round will allow Elemental Software to reach that huge social prescribing market at lightning speed.

Catalyst Inc welcomes the investment

Catalyst Inc welcomes the investment

The SEUPB has announced that funding of over €8.5 million from the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme has been offered to Catalyst Inc for the creation of a new cross-border ‘super cluster’ within the Health & Life Sciences business sector.

The project is called the ‘North West Centre for Advanced Manufacturing’, and will be led by Catalyst Inc. It will support eight different key Health & Life Sciences companies involved in 15 different research projects based in the North West to develop new products and processes.

The project aims to enhance the level of cross-border research and innovation collaboration within the area of applied advanced manufacturing. It will also significantly increase the the number of Health & Life Science businesses engaged in commercially focused research in order to make them more competitive.

The project will bring together a number of partners in the creation of a new ‘super cluster’ including the Engineering Research Institute at Ulster University, the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre at Glasgow University, the PEM Centre at Sligo Institute of Technology and the CoLab facility at the Letterkenny Institute of Technology. Industry partners include Sphere Global, Randox, Lpe, Armstrong Medical, Nuprint, Abbott and GSK.

A total of 26 PhD level researchers, along with post-doctoral research assistants will be recruited over the life time of the project, to work with the eight participating companies, and create up to 98.5 years’ worth of PhD full time equivalent research.

Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in Ireland, the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland and the University of Glasgow.

Announcing the funding award Gina McIntyre CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), which manages the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme said: “This project will make a real impact in terms of providing support for a business sector with strong economic potential. The research produced will be used to strengthen the economic outlook of businesses on a cross-border basis.

“This is one of the core objectives of the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme which has been specifically designed to enhance the levels of Research & Innovation found within businesses across the region,” she continued.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr Norman Apsley CEO Catalyst Inc said:

‘As lead partner for the North West Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, we are delighted that the project has been awarded this EU funding. At Catalyst Inc we are focused on advancing the Knowledge Economy and this project will support the development of new products and services by bringing together industry and academic partners to work on research projects deploying Advanced Manufacturing technologies within the Life and Health Sciences sector.

This will see the development of a virtual cross-border Centre for Advanced Manufacturing with a focus on four cross-cutting thematic areas, enabling our industry partners to benefit from additional research facilities and expertise which will have a positive impact on the companies and the wider economy.

Our aim is to increase the level of cross-border collaboration across the region and raise the levels of innovation both of which are key to the regions future economic success.’

A spokesperson for the Department for the Economy said: “Investment in research and development is critical to future economic growth. Strong collaboration between industry and academia will also contribute to success. The creation of this new super-cluster is a welcome development for the health and life sciences sector and a boost for the North West border region.”

Welcoming the project Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor, said: “I am delighted that this project has been approved and I am very happy that my Department is in a position to co-fund this project. It is a great example of practical cross border cooperation, which will bring strong economic benefits to the eligible regions in both jurisdictions. Manufacturing has been a key sector for us over the years, providing valuable jobs and investment. This new initiative will help drive competitiveness and enhanced value-added, at a time of significant technological change in the industry.”